The Casper City Council on Tuesday approved an amendment to the budget for this fiscal year that unfroze wages for city employees, among other changes.

"Things change, so you have to make adjustments," Mayor Charlie Powell said after the regular council meeting

The amendment was for $3.8 million, but that was essentially a transfer of funds from one account to another with no additional expenditures to more accurately describe what the money is being spent on in the fiscal year that ends June 30, he said.

"The other matter that had to be resolved is payment for the [wage] step increases that were recently approved, and that was, in the opinion of many people on council, long overdue," Powell said.

When the economic downturn hit four years ago, council cut costs, didn't fill vacant positions, and froze wages among other measures.

Employees hired on with the expectation that they would receive step increases if they stayed with the city," Powell said.

"We really needed to make good on that," he said,

The economy has stabilized since then, Powell said. "Now, we're looking a little bit better and we just need to do this or we're going to lose more good employees."

Powell added the amendment also provided $200,000 for the air conditioning system in need of serious repair at a city-owned building on Ash Street that is leased to the state for state employees.

In other action Tuesday, Casper City Council:

  • Transferred a liquor license from Wyoming Bootlegger Liquor, 240-242 W. First St., to Wyoming Bootlegger Liquor, 100 N. Ash St., the building that housed the former Sandbar Lounge. Modern Electric Co., does business as Wyoming Bootlegger Liquor.
  • Vacated and replaced a lot in the Cabin Creek Estates to create Cabin Creek No. 4 by the Paradise Valley Golf Course.
  • Authorized a $51,250 agreement with Whited Floor Surfacing for the Rec Center floor refinishing project.
  • Authorized a $567,657 agreement with JTL Group, Inc., doing business as Knife River for the 2019 residential streets improvements project. The  work, scheduled for completion by July 26, will be on West 53rd Street between South Oak Street and Casper Mountain Road, Eastbrook Avenue between Glendale Avenue and East 21st Street, and Amherst Avenue between Fairdale Avenue and South Beverly Street.
  • Authorized a $29,652 agreement for the Baler Building Co-Ray-Vac replacement project.
  • Established funding guidelines for the City of Casper's health fund.
  • Authorized a $177,851 contract for professional services with Geosyntec Consultants, Inc., for the Casper Regional Landfill lifetime permit annual reporting and monitoring project